GuitarTricks is one of the largest online guitar instruction services, and offers a wide range of lessons for students at every level, and involving every guitar playing style imaginable. Whether you are a beginner or someone who already has some skills but want more, GuitarTricks may be just the trick for you.
The traditional method of learning guitar involved finding a teacher who you could relate to, and who played and taught the guitar styles you wanted to master. Today, however, and especially for adult learners, the Internet offers tutorial services that many people find equal to or better than personal instruction.
While there will always be a place for teachers and students to sit down as one imparts and the other absorbs the learning of a lifetime, time moves on, and this company is moving with it. If you don’t know anything about online learning for the guitar, you’re in for an eye-opening experience as we guide you through all that the firm’s website has to offer.
What You Get When You Join
This company offers licensed song lessons from numerous artists, including The Beatles, The Eagles, B.B. King, Stevie Ray Vaughn, 3 Doors Down, Five for Fighting, and Kiss, though it’s unlikely you’ll choose that exact combination. They have over five hundred licensed songs and counting, and that is well above what any of their competitors offer. By the way, it is particularly difficult to secure licensing for major song titles and artists, making the availability of these songs is all the more valuable.
If you are starting out, you’ll naturally gravitate to their “Core Learning System,” which provides all the basics for beginners. The lessons are not long, and GuitarTricks offers a number of different teachers for each skill, so you can keep shopping (but without spending more) until you find the teachers you want to learn from. Also, the “Core” lessons put the notation on-screen, which is particularly useful when you are just starting out and need to see everything.
Once you have the basics down, you can pursue either a particular genre, including blues, rock, jazz, and a large menu of others, or a particular technique, including hammer-ons, finger-picking, sweep-picking, and many more. These are all short-form courses, but they will give you a complete rundown on the techniques you are seeking to acquire. Also, the site has a very large volume of lessons, over 8,000 in fact, so if one teacher or style of lesson isn’t working for you, you can keep sampling until something else does. Now, if you want to learn how B.B. King plays Lucille, you’ll have to ask him to teach you that himself.
Another useful feature that is offered is that lesson transcripts and notation are available from the same screens as the lessons, and so they are always just a click away. The site’s jam station enables students to play portions of a song without any backup band, so you can hear what you’re getting right and what you’re not yet getting right. There are also charts that show all the chord markings, and a list of scales, showing you the correct finger positions on the fret board. And perhaps the most convenient and useful function is a “loop” function that can be used to play the same section of a lesson over and over, so you can keep your hands on your guitar while the infinitely patient instructor goes over the issue again and again, until you can get it right.
As for sound and video quality, all of the company’s lessons were recorded with three different hi-def camera in MP4 format. So along with great quality, a variety of aspects, you will be able to view all GuitarTricks lessons on your computer. The company will also give you a metronome as a free download if you sign up for their full membership.
Of course, the video quality varies somewhat between lessons and instructors, but overall it is of high quality, with only some of the tapes made early in the firm’s history being of noticeably lower quality, though still acceptable. And while they can’t let you download those licensed lessons, you can download all the others.
Hi-speed Internet connections are recommended for anyone who is interested in streaming video guitar lessons, since lower-speed connections will leave you waiting forever for your lesson to arrive.
Prices and Ordering Information
The company has made a policy decision to keep their prices low, charging only $14.95 a month for membership. That is well below the price for even a single in-person lesson (and yes, that does have somewhat sad implications for person-to-person instruction). And while you may want to try them out on a monthly basis before making a larger commitment, an annual sign-up is $149.95, saving you $25 over the course of a year.
If you are particularly reticent about making a commitment, the firm offers a free 14-day trial, which gives you full access to the site. You will be able to fully experience what they have on offer, and cancel within that period if you decide it isn’t for you.
The company accepts plastic money, credit or debit, PayPal, or you can simply send in a check if you are old-fashioned or prefer them. The company also offers a refund policy, under which if you find yourself dissatisfied within the first sixty days of your membership, you can say so, and you will get your money back.
There really isn’t much criticism to be found about the company. Some mention has been made of the fact that the earlier lessons have lower video quality, and that the lessons tend to be short. But at the same time, the lessons are unlimited, and there are 8,000 of them. We usually have a “Criticism” section, so we have one with this review as well. We just don’t have much to put in it.
GuitarTricks offers customer support either by email or through a toll-free phone support, and they are quite responsive to new and existing guitar students.
And the site supports a public guitar forum where you will be able to ask questions of the company’s teachers, and even use the entire membership of other students, including intermediate and advanced students, as additional resources. This is a particularly useful feature if you need an answer to a question that has arisen in the course of your study, and you don’t want to search through a series of lessons, passively hoping the question will just happen to be addressed by one of them.
And while that might seem to be a sufficient degree of customer service, the firm goes the extra mile in keeping on staff a guitar technician who will be able to help you with mechanical issues that arise with your instrument, including trouble with your action height, diagnosing a bend in your neck (if you have a webcam to allow the tech to see), and other similar issues. The site also has a tuner, allowing you to tune up with precision before you start to learn. That’s a full-service operation.
Virtual music instruction has a lot to recommend it, and GuitarTricks seems to have mastered the art of providing this form of learning. In-person instruction does restrict your learning schedule, and it may further restrict the styles of guitar-playing to those favored by your teacher. While child learners in some cases may benefit from the student-teacher relationship and the encouragement and mentorship it involves, for adults, and even some more self-directed children, online learning offers greater flexibility, a wealth of functions, on-demand learning, and significant cost savings.
The services provide allow you on-demand learning, provide a huge volume of lessons to choose from, are reasonably priced and easy to use with new lessons being constantly added, and include an active forum with teacher support. GuitarTricks is also more likely than other sites to have the licensed songs you are interested in, although in some cases of course they may not. So if you’re ready to start strumming, or picking, or hammering-on, this may well be the site for you.